The latest from Bob Nightengale of USA Today has a pair of interesting quotes. The first is from Team President David Montgomery: “We’re committed to this core. We want to surround them with the best possible players. In time, hopefully we’ll be able to transition to some of younger players.” This seems completely reasonable and is part of the direction everyone believed they were going. The second quote is bound to raise some eyebrows. Nightengale quotes GM Ruben Amaro Jr. as saying the following: “Listen, if Ryan [Howard] is on the field, we are winning games.”
The truth, whether Amaro wants to hear it or not, is that Howard was only slightly above average among first baseman during the last three years that he was healthy. Yes, from 2009 through 2011, Howard ranked fourth among first basemen in homers but he ranked seventh in runs, 17th in BB%, and only Adam Dunn, Carlos Pena, and Russell Branyan were easier to strike out. In the same stretch, Howard ranked 16th in batting average, 17th in OBP, and eighth in slugging. Better than average at first base? Sure. Difference maker after two years of missing significant time due to injury? I’m not so sure.
What are your thoughts on the impact Ryan Howard can/will have on the 2014 Phillies?